Hubert de Givenchy 02/21/1927-03/10/2018

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Renowned French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy has died at the age of 91.  He became world famous after a certain actress called Hepburn called to his atelier. He was expecting Katharine, he got Audrey. She chose his dresses for her role as the ugly duckling turned beautiful society swan in Sabrina:  Edith Head took the credit. Audrey Hepburn was his muse, his friend and his greatest model. His most famous look was the Little Black Dress that came into its own in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn was the inspiration for his first perfume, L’Interdit. As elegant in person as he made women look and feel, he was obsessed with Balenciaga and his family relented in his pursuit of design over their preference for the study of law. He established a global marque and an ongoing brand that continues to create and innovate. He made an enduring silhouette for a true icon – perhaps the most famous in all of cinema – and influenced the co-dependence of the worlds of fashion and film, intertwining fit and fantasy, dream and design, forever.

His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality – Audrey Hepburn

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David Ogden Stiers 10/31/1942-03/03/2018

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David Ogden Stiers entered our hearts as the pompous and erudite fusspot Major Charles Emerson Winchester III in the classic TV series M*A*S*H but was a versatile character actor making his auspicious entry to the world of cinema in George Lucas’ debut film, THX 1138.  His long career encompassed many appearances, large (invariably, due to his imposing height) and small (often providing comic punctuation for Woody Allen) and supplied his considerable, sonorous vocal talents to an array of films and video games. A classmate of critic Roger Ebert, he was a keen classical music fan who pursued his interest to conducting many orchestras. He died in Oregon following an illness. Rest in peace.

Lewis Gilbert 03/06/1920-02/23/2018


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Veteran British director Lewis Gilbert has shuffled off this mortal coil at the grand old age of 97. His is a career marked not merely by longevity or versatility but by the power of making films that speak to generation after generation not least my own James Bond years because he directed the first of that series that I was allowed to go see at the cinema, Moonraker. It might not have been one of the best Bonds – or even one of his best Bonds – because he had already made The Spy Who Loved Me and You Only Live Twice – but for a kid it had tremendous value, hopping up the cartoon-like aspects and the ingenious potential of the effects. The impression you get is that he likes the characters whose stories he is shaping (even Alfie!) – and then you learn he was a child actor, born to music hall performers, which explains his generosity towards them. This goes some way toward why he was as much at ease doing war films with Kenneth More as he was female-centric dramas with Julie Walters. The realisation that he was responsible for so many of those war movies broadcast on Sunday afternoons in my childhood (and how I adored the Seventies iteration, Operation Daybreak) and other youth-oriented and equally affecting films is a testament to his own taste as much the material that might have been on the table – Susannah York in The Greengage Summer is an adolescent favourite and remains a wonderfully made drama;  later Free Love stories like Paul and Michelle offer more contemporary takes on the concept of youthful relationships and the negotiating required to attain maturity.  He would make films that found massive audiences in the Eighties with two projects adapted from Willy Russell’s plays about middle-aged lower class women getting their mojo back, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. He played a small role in The Divorce of Lady X opposite Laurence Olivier and made such an impression on mogul Alexander Korda he offered to sponsor him at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Gilbert instead opted to study directing and assisted Alfred Hitchcock on Jamaica Inn. He acquired technical knowledge during his wartime service with the American Air Corps film unit where he was seconded to the director William Keighley and after making a handful of short documentaries for Gaumont British put it to excellent use in those brilliantly crafted post-war British films that still tell us so much about the mindset that combated WW2 and dealt with the tricky (cinematic) aftermath. He married Hylda Tafler, sister of the actor Sydney, and it was she who found the property Alfie while visiting the hairdresser one day, seated beside an actress who was appearing in the Bill Naughton play. It was the standout of his career because it was the culmination of his studies of working class people who were finally being dramatised in complete narratives but it was also a theatrical style of filmmaking which broke the fourth wall. He often said his worst experience was working with Orson Welles on Ferry to Hong Kong and his biggest mistake was turning down Oliver! Lewis Gilbert, truly a professional man for all seasons and showman who was an excellent and amusing interviewee and recorded his memoirs in All My Flashbacks. Rest in peace.


Jóhann Jóhannsson 09/19/1969-02/09/2018

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The death has taken place in Berlin of the single most talented contemporary soundtrack composer, Iceland’s Jóhann Jóhannsson. If there is a better score in the last 20 years than that of Sicario, I don’t know what it could be. He was just 48. This is tragic.




Dorothy Malone 01/30/1924-01/19/2018

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The stunning Dorothy Malone has died just short of her 94th birthday. She made a big impression on Humphrey Bogart’s Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep as the sultry bookseller and was put into the usual array of westerns and B movies before she made the move to Douglas Sirk’s indelible florid melodramas:  she will forever be embedded in the collective consciousness as the outrageously boozy sexpot oilman’s daughter Marylee Hadley in Written on the Wind. He brought her back to work on what might be her finest dramatic role in The Tarnished Angels.  She spent much of the Sixties and Seventies in TV and was part of everyone’s life in Peyton Place as Constance Mackenzie.  She would return in two TV movies based on the characters over the next couple of decades. She was paid righteous homage in Basic Instinct, turning up in that essay on the Hollywood blonde as a childkiller whom Sharon Stone’s character befriends. What a woman. Rest in peace.


Dolores O’Riordan 09/06/1971-01/15/2018

Dolores O'Riordan


If you, if you could return
Don’t let it burn
Don’t let it fade
I’m sure I’m not being rude
But it’s just your attitude
It’s tearing me apart
It’s ruining every day
For me
I swore I would be true
And fellow, so did you
So why were you holding her hand?
Is that the way we stand?
Were you lying all the time?
Was it just a game to you?
But I’m in so deep
You know I’m such a fool for you
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
Do you have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?

Oh, I thought the world of you
I thought nothing could go wrong
But I was wrong, I was wrong
If you, if you could get by
Trying not to lie
Things wouldn’t be so confused
And I wouldn’t feel so used
But you always really knew
I just want to be with you
And I’m in so deep
You know I’m such a fool for you
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
Do have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?

And I’m in so deep
You know I’m such a fool for you
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
Do have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?

You know I’m such a fool for you
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
Do have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to, do have to let it linger?

Written by Noel Anthony Hogan, Dolores Mary O’riordan • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)


This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. Senator Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart) attends the funeral of a man named Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) in a small Western town. Flashing back 25 years, we learn Doniphon saved Stoddard, then a lawyer, when he was roughed up by a gang of outlaws led by Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin). As the territory’s safety hung in the balance, Doniphon and Stoddard, two of the only people standing up to him, proved to be very important, but different, foes to Valance. Stoddard opened a law office over the offices of the Shinbone Star, the newspaper which is run by a steadfast editor determined to expose the reality of the violence terrorising the territory and preserve the freedom of the press. Both Doniphon and Stoddard are in love with the same woman, Hallie (Vera Miles) who cooks in her immigrant parents’ restaurant and whom Stoddard teaches to read and write. When the newspaper prints a (mis-spelled) headline declaring Valance is defeated, he takes revenge – and then the peace-loving Stoddard takes up a gun … This is a film of polarities, exemplified by the civilising influence of Ransom opposed to Valance and Doniphon’s own belief in the power of the gun (which ironically opens up the possibility for bringing law and order to the place). Vera Miles is splendid as the illiterate love of both men:  What good has reading and writing done you? Look at you – in an apron!  An eloquent essay on the genre itself, this was not received warmly upon release. And yet its entire narrative provides the content for soon to be popular structuralist analysis of the western:  the East versus the West, old versus new, the wilderness versus civilisation, violence versus law and order, reality versus myth, the desert versus the garden. Never was a cactus rose deployed to such symbolic effect! John Ford made one of the great films but it took the rest of the world a little longer to catch up. Adapted from Dorothy Johnson’s short story by producer Willis Goldbeck and James Warner Bellah .


Bruce Brown 12/01/1937-12/10/2017

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If there’s an ocean, maybe there’s surf. Father of the surf documentary Bruce Brown has died aged 80. Surfing’s the source, man. Amen.


Keith Chegwin 01/17/1957-12/11/2017

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Keith Chegwin – known to all his fans as Cheggers – has died aged just 60. Talent-spotted by Phil Collins’ mother June on Junior Showtime, he made his big screen debut playing Banquo’s son in Roman Polanski’s Macbeth. He established himself as an actor and comedian in scores of TV series including Robin Hood Junior but really entered the hearts of children through live TV probably due to his success fronting It’s a Knockout. BBC’s Multi-Coloured Swap Shop was Saturday morning for my generation. He and Noel Edmonds and Maggie Philbin (later his wife) were simply the only thing to watch. They even had a hit song as Brown Sauce! Then he had his own vehicle – Cheggers Plays Pop and got another live TV show with Saturday Superstore. I can’t think of a tougher gig than having to be ‘on’ for a three hour show without a break – where anything can go wrong and usually does. Cheggers was always ready with a quip or a joke. His career waned due to personal problems but he bounced back on The Big Breakfast – what better way to wake up in the Nineties than to find him knocking on your front door? Never less than vivacious and hilarious and ready for anything, he didn’t fear sending himself up and was lately seen on the Ricky Gervais show Life’s Too Short. By all accounts as nice a guy as you could hope to meet, this is a very sad day indeed for all of us for whom Cheggers was a vital part of our growing up. RIP Cheggers.


Johnny Hallyday 06/15/1943-12/06/2017

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La mort a eu lieu de la réponse de la France à Elvis, son propre roi du rock ‘n’ roll. Johnny Hallyday, né Jean-Philippe Smet en Belgique en 1943, avait 74 ans. Avec son magnifique cliquetis, son grognement graveleux et ses yeux bleus perçants, il a transformé la scène musicale francophone dès son arrivée en 1960. Jamais peur d’expérimenter, ses rencontres avec Les musiciens britanniques et américains tout en enregistrant à Londres tout au long des années 1960 ont élevé ses ambitions et ses accomplissements – À tout casser témoigne de ce désir de changer. Il est aussi l’un des rares musiciens à ne pas avoir peur de se moquer de Dylan – Cheveux longues, idees courtes! Un des préférés des cinéastes d’auteur, il a travaillé avec tout le monde, de Sergio Corbucci à Costa-Gavras et Godard, son charisme unique à l’écran, qui présente des films aussi variés que Le Spécialiste à DétectivePartie indélébile de la culture française, il était adoré et ne sera jamais oublié. Légende. Icône. Rocker. Star. Repose en paix.


Johnny chante en anglais une chanson écrit pour lui par Bono et Simon Carmody